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Why Japan won't be on the Security Council

Reuters reports on Japan's desperate last-ditch bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council — which, given that it would require China's approval, seems exceedingly unlikely:

Japan's relations with China have been strained by a series of disputes and its U.N. bid was among the factors that triggered violent anti-Japanese protests in Chinese cities in April.

"This is a difficult proposal... It is hard to tell until the final stage," Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters on Friday, when asked about the prospects for the G4 proposal.

Failure could spark annoyance with Washington and anger at China among Japanese lawmakers, already irked by Beijing's criticism of Koizumi's visits to a Tokyo shrine for war dead where convicted war criminals are also honoured.

It would also cause deep embarrassment, especially if it highlighted a lack of Asian support for the Japanese bid.
I would never tell Japan that it should follow China's orders. But when you really, really want a favor from someone — particularly someone who doesn't like you — it pays to be nice.

True, China's posture toward Japan has been particularly aggressive and arrogant over the past several months. But Japan has done nothing to curry favor with China, either.

It issued a new government-authorized history textbook skimming over Japanese WWII-era atrocities at Nanking.

It fought over the status of the Okinotori outcroppings, which Japan says are actual islands extending its territorial waters, and which China says are just a bunch of rocks.

It fought over ownership of the Senkaku Islands and the natural gas resources in the ocean floor around them. China calls them the Diaoyu Islands, and claims them for itself.

And, of course, it refused to give an inch on the contentious matter of Prime Minister Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine.

Again, I don't think Japan should necessarily defer to China on the above issues, or, for that matter, on any others. But nor should it be surprised when China vetoes its bid.




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